Sunday, December 28, 2008

Saturday, December 6, 2008

How I remember Christmas as a boy


He lay very still for a few minutes, perhaps even holding his breath to make sure he could not hear anyone moving about. He had finished eating his cookies and milk in his bedroom and had called “goodnight” to his Mom and Dad quite a while ago.

When he was sure they must be asleep by now he quietly slipped out of bed, being careful to step on the homemade braided rug beside his bed. He knew the stories he had heard about your foot sticking to the cold linoleum, like your tongue does to an ice tray, were false but he did not want to take any chances.

He crept out of his small bedroom and across the kitchen, again making sure he stayed on the rugs and did not step on the cold linoleum. In about eight steps he was at the doorway to the front room where the Christmas tree had been decorated and lit and was awaiting the appearance of Santa Clause. Of course he and his friends now knew there was no Santa Clause but never the less he wanted so see what awaited him under the big blue spruce that was their tree this year.

He peaked around the doorframe and was not really surprised that it looked just like it had when he went to bed. There were presents under the tree, there was cookies and milk on the end table for Santa and the lights were winking and blinking but nothing had changed. There were no new toys or gifts added since he went to bed. He said to himself, “well that is what I expected to find.” “I wonder how they know exactly when I am to sleep or just pretending.”

Of course it seems he had just gone back to bed and just fell off to sleep and he heard dad up building a fire and then he knew! He knew that Santa had come and that it was OK to get up. He called to his dad and asked, “Has he been here yet?” And he answered, “of course son but lets let the house warm up a little before you get up so your feet will not stick to the linoleum.”

That was the beginning of another Christmas day, just like they had been for as many years as he could remember. When the house warmed up he and his sister and Mom and Dad all opened their presents and ooohhd and ahhhed just like they did every year. They were thankful they were together and they always got some presents from that unknown Santa Claus.

After a quick breakfast the day’s activities would begin just as they did every Christmas Day for as long as he could remember. He would bundle up in his warm coat, hat and boots and run as fast as his legs would carry him to his best friends to see what had been left for him under his tree. After a short visit and a piece of Christmas pastry he and his friend would be off to the next friends house to do the same thing over again until they had visited all their friends in town. Each time the picked up another person to go on with them until in the end there might be ten or twelve trudging into a home to inspect gifts, eat cookies and have a Christmas drink. It was a grand time and one the young man would remember all his life, and even tell his children and grandchildren about.
Even though there might be ten or twelve children going from house to house, covered with snow and laughing and acting like children, they would never be turned away from their friends homes and would always be offered some type of goodie. It seems in that small town that Christmas was the time for all the Mothers to try and outdo each other making goodies to hand out. I remember Greek Cookies, Pitisa, Italian Biscuits, Fruit Cakes (soaked in wine cloths), Fudge, Butter Squares, Divinity and an array of things that was hard to imagine. We were even offered home made wine by the Greek and Italian families but we usually turned it down ands sometimes they seemed upset by this.

It was usually afternoon when we finished visiting with friends and then it was time to visit the Aunts and Uncles (real ones and adopted ones.) There were many people in our small town who we called Aunt and Uncle but they really were just friends of our Mom and Dad’s. Some times I am not sure if we really knew if they were real relatives or not. Of course at those homes we had to eat. It was either a turkey sandwich or a salad or it could be a full course dinner again. We never knew what it would be but we did know we would be invited to eat. It seems in a small town that was closely knit together one of the favorite activities was to EAT.

After eating it was off to play, usually in the snow. If some of us were fortunate enough to get new sleds we could not wait to go and try them out on the big sledding hill in flat town. We never had to worry about whether we would have enough snow. In fact our worry was usually the opposite. Who would be the one to walk up and down the hill in the thigh deep snow to pack down the trail for the first ride? Or if we got skates that clamped onto our shoes we would go to Hoopes’ pond and take our scoop shovels to shovel the snow off so we could skate.

We would play in the snow until dark and then build a fire and play until we were so tired we could not get back up the hill. We were so wet and cold our pants were like cardboard but we did not care because we were having fun.

Our Christmas Days were perhaps not as spiritual as they should have been but the closeness and the love of other people of all faiths and all nationalities was ingrained deeply in us in that small town.

By Wallace R. Baldwin
9 December 2002

Friday, December 5, 2008

Hiawatha Breakfast 1 Dec 2008

There were 12 of us at the Hiawatha breakfast on Dec. 1st. As usual we talked a lot, laughed a lot and speaking for myself we had an enjoyable time.
Mike Manosakis --Ken Allred
Tom Neilson --Glenn Davis
Dean Petrulas --Tucker Lowe
Tony Kourianis --Mike Orphanakis
Clyde Reaveley-- Bob Wilde
Wally Baldwin --Gordon Bingham

Any of you guys that would like to attend-- It is the 1st & 3rd Monday of the month.